Rory McIlroy is going to win the US Masters next year.
It will not only mean the end of McIlroy’s major winning drought, but also make the 34-year-old Northern Irishman only the sixth player to win all four major titles.
This is the opinion of Lee Westwood, the 50-year-old Englishman who joined the controversial LIV series last year. Westwood was the world’s no. 1 player and for two decades one of Europe’s great Ryder Cup mainstays.
Although Westwood could never write a major title behind his name, he was the top money winner on the European series for three seasons and is regarded worldwide as one of the best players the game has ever produced.
“I have a feeling that Rory is going to win the Masters next year. He is simply too good not to succeed. It is only a matter of time before everything comes together and he runs away from the rest of the participants. I just get the feeling that April next year, with the Masters, such time,” Westwood told the Mirror on Tuesday.
According to the English star, McIlroy’s best golf years are still ahead of him.
“I played my best golf in my late thirties. Rory is almost there in terms of age and there is nobody who plays as consistently as he does and is in the race as much,” says Westwood.
McIlroy finished in the top ten for the seventh time in eight major tournaments on the Royal Liverpool course in Hoylake on Sunday.
However, the Northern Irishman last won a major in 2014 when he took the American PGA title behind his name in August of that year.
A few weeks before that, he won the British Open at Royal Liverpool itself.
“He won four majors before his 25th birthday. I have a feeling from here forward it is his time again,” says Westwood about McIlroy, who is an outspoken opponent of the LIV series.
*The just ended British Open had a record winner’s check of $3 million (about R52.8 million), as well as a record total prize pool of $16.5 million (about R290 million).
However, Martin Slumbers, the chief executive of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club, the game’s governing body, says the hefty prize money is not sustainable. Since the arrival of the LIV Series, the US PGA and European Series, as well as the four majors, have been forced to increase their prize pools to try and retain the world’s best players.
“The increase in prize money is not sustainable. Other plans will have to be made,” said Slumbers.
The golf boss had a secret meeting with the governor of Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund (PIF), Yasir Al-Rumayyan, during the last round of the Open on Sunday. The LIV series is Al-Rumayyan’s brainchild.
Slumbers said in advance that the golf world has changed dramatically in the last year and that he has no problem talking to any possible future sponsors.
“The R&A must keep up with the changing world and consider all options when it comes to sponsorships,” said Slumbers.
He pointed out that the PIF is already involved in golf and now also wants to spend big money on Formula One, football, tennis and other sports.